Charles Duprat / ONP

Dates / Prix

Opéra Bastille - First performance on 8 April 2014 - 6:00PM

Ticket rates : 5€, 15€, 35€, 70€, 90€, 115€, 135€, 155€, 180€

Running time : 5H15 with 2 intervals

April 2014
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May 2014
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Fermer


Tristan und Isolde
Richard Wagner
Presentation
Pre-performance reading
TRISTAN AND ISOLDE
OPERA IN THREE ACTS (1865)
MUSIC BY RICHARD WAGNER (1813-1883)
LIBRETTO BY THE COMPOSER
performed in german

In 1857 Wagner took a pause from composing the Ring, abandoning Siegfried in the depths of the forest to embark upon another quest. The composer had read Schopenhauer and the Bhagavad-Gıta  – perceiving in  renunciation the ultimate means of breaking free from the limits of existence – and he was in the midst of a passionate romance with Mathilde Wesendonck. Out of these spiritual and amorous affinities would come Tristan und Isolde, the saga of a love which was too huge for the material world. To set this myth to music—a myth in which Denis de Rougemont saw the very fate of the Western world playing out—Wagner pushed the very limits of his art: shifting keys,  languishing tension, ever-delayed resolution until Isolde dies of love – “The breath of a world to which she abandons herself, the waters which envelop her and in which she drowns...”
Under Philippe Jordan’s baton, this production of Tristan und Isolde brings together two great artists: producer, Peter Sellars and video director Bill Viola. On stage, the latter has conceived a world of parallel images: a world beyond life, like “a reflection of the world of the spirit in the mirror of time.”

Philippe Jordan Conductor
Peter Sellars Stage director
Bill Viola Video
Martin Pakledinaz Costumes
James F. Ingalls Lighting
Patrick Marie Aubert Chorus master
ArtisteNoteRôle
Robert Dean Smith
Tristan
Franz Josef Selig
König Marke
Violeta Urmana
Isolde
Jochen Schmeckenbecher
Kurwenal
Janina Baechle
Brangäne
Raimund Nolte
Melot
Stanislas de Barbeyrac*
Ein Hirt / Ein junger Seemann
Pavol Breslik
(A)
Ein Hirt / Ein junger Seemann
Dietmar Kerschbaum
(B)
Orchestre et Choeur De l’Opéra national de Paris

(A) 8, 12 APRIL
(B) 17, 21, 25, 29 APRIL AND 4 MAY

> DISCOVER THE BILL VIOLA EXHIBITION AT THE GRAND PALAIS

ANNENBERG FOUNDATION/GRoW
WITH THE EXCEPTIONAL SUPPORT OF THE ANNENBERG FOUNDATION⁄GRoW

 

To be broadcast on may 17 at 7:00 pm on France musique

The composer

Richard Wagner, born 22 May 1813 in Leipzig, died 13 February 1883 in Venice. Alongside Verdi, Wagner is incontestably one of the two greatest figures in nineteenth century opera.
After some initial difficulties (he was unable to get his early operas Die Feen, Das Liebersverbot, Rienzi and even The Flying Dutchman performed), Wagner met with success in Dresden, where he was named Capelmeister to the court, thanks, in particular, to his opera Tannhäuser (1845). However, his participation four years later in the May revolution forced him to leave the city for exile in Switzerland. It was there that he published a certain number of political and critical texts (including Art and Revolution) and started composing his Ring of the Nibelung, a project which had been outlined a year earlier and which was to take more than twenty years to complete. Its composition was interrupted for a long time by the writing of Tristan and Isolde and The Master Singers of Nuremburg, his only mature opera with a happy ending. In 1871, under the patronage of King Ludwig II of Bavaria, Wagner decided to erect in Bayreuth a theatre he had himself conceived and which was designed for the production of his own works. It was in this theatre, in 1876, that the complete cycle of The Ring of the Nibelung was first performed as was, in 1882, Parsifal, his last opera and artistic testament.

The work

Tristan and Isolde is an immense lyric poem, a song of love and death inspired by Wagner’s passionate feelings for Mathilde Wesendonk, the wife of Otto, his rich protector from Zurich. At the time he undertook the work he was in the midst of composing his Ring cycle and already looking forward to Parsifal. However for practical reasons (the need to write a smaller-scale work which could be more easily performed) and for personal reasons (the need to “sublimate” his love through art) he abandoned all other work to devote himself entirely to this opera. The libretto, written as always by the composer himself, turns to the Celtic myth, refining it and bringing a personal significance to the love potion which here serves to reveal a passion which already exists. In 1854, the year in which he committed the first outlines of the work to paper, Wagner had just read Schopenhauer and the Bhagavad Gita and both the philosopher’s reflections on renouncing the will to live and Buddhist mysticism were to influence the composer’s approach to the myth.
From a musical point of view Tristan and Isolde marks a turning point in Wagner’s work and in the history of music as a whole. For the first time tonality was no longer all important. The composer overlaps various rhythms creating a uniquely special movement of languishing and unresolving tension. The Prelude, the second act duo and the death of Isolde count among the most extraordinary passages of the score.

The first performance

Wagner directed extracts of the work on 25th January and 1st and 8th February 1860 at the Théâtre Italien de Paris. Tristan and Isolde was first performed in its complete version on 10th June 1865 at the Hoftheater in Munich, thanks to the support of Ludwig II of Bavaria. The work was conducted by Hans von Bulow.

The work at the Paris Opera

Tristan and Isolde was first performed at the Palais Garnier on 11 December 1904. Among the famous singers to have performed the work we should cite Germaine Lubin, Kirsten Flagstad, Astrid Varnay, Birgit Nilsson, Gwyneth Jones (Isolde) and Lauritz Melchior, Max Lorenz, Wolfgang Windgassen, Jess Thomas, René Kollo (Tristan) along with conductors such as André Messager, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Herbert von Karajan, Hans Knappertsbuch and Georges Sebastian. Tristan und Isolde was presented at the Opera Bastille for the first time in 1997, in a production staged by Stein Winge, under the direction of James Conlon. In 2005,a new production was presented in this theatre, staged by Peter Sellars (video: Bill Viola), with Ben Heppner (Tristan), Waltraud Meier (Isolde), Franz-Josef Selig (King Marke) and Yvonne Naef (Brangäne) under the direction of Esa-Pekka Salonen. It is this production (already revived the following season with Lisa Gasteen, Clifton Forbis and Willard White, then in 2008 with Waltraud Meier, Clifton Forbis and Franz-Josef Selig) that is being presented today.